Placement FAQs for COVID-19

PLACEMENTS - HEALTH

We are updating students and placement providers regularly as government health advice changes so please monitor these FAQs for the most up to date information. The Placement Operations Team will be in contact with you if your placement is affected as a result of COVID-19.

Please contact the placements team or your subject coordinator if you have any specific questions.

Is there any impact on clinical health placements?

The University is working closely with and following Department of Health (DH) advice about health student placements. Please monitor these FAQs for the most up to date information.

DH currently supports the continuation of health placements. On-site placements will be subject to additional COVID safety measures, as host organisations need to confirm for La Trobe that they are complying with the government’s COVID-19 WorkSafe advice. Placements will continue until otherwise advised by DH or the placement facility/host organisation.

The Placement Operations Team will let you know as soon as possible if a placement is cancelled, or arrangements have been altered, but also please make sure you follow the advice given by your placement provider. Please contact the placements team or your subject coordinator if you have any specific questions.

What are the restrictions around health placement that I need to be aware of?

The Department of Health advice are students:

  • Cannot undertake more than one placement at the same time across different locations (note, student can undertake consecutive placements provided there is no overlaps)
  • Students should not be placed in a COVID ward or COVID testing clinic
  • Should not undertake paid work in a healthcare setting at the same time as the health placement
  • Can undertake paid work in a non-healthcare setting at the same time as the health placement
  • Cannot undertake a health placement if they have attended hotel quarantine site within the last 14 days

If you have a work and health placement related concern or questions, please contact your La Trobe University placement coordinator.

My place of employment has experienced a COVID outbreak – am I allowed on placement?

Affected students should follow the advice of their employer and DH. In this situation, the student may be required to undergo testing and quarantine and not be allowed to undertake placement until they have received clearance from DH.

How do I stay safe on my health placement?

The health, safety, and wellbeing of our students, including those completing approved course-related health placements, is our highest priority.

For your safety and those you will interact with during your placement, it is essential that you complete the Australian Government 30 minute online training module for healthcare workers on infection prevention and control for COVID-19 prior to commencing placement.

If the number of COVID-19 positive patients in healthcare facilities rises it is possible you will provide care to an affected patient despite the fact that you will not be placed in COVID or Suspected-COVID wards, or asked to provide care to individuals known to be affected by COVID-19. While on placement, you should follow the advice of your clinical placement coordinator or supervisor about infection control, social distancing, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene protocols.

Depending on where you are undertaking your placement, you may need to dress in civilian clothing while travelling to and from placement and only wear your uniform while at your placement. Please ensure you wash your uniform or work clothing in hot water at the end of each shift. Please check with your placement co-ordinator at your placement health service for site specific uniform or clothing requirements.

Please also consider the safety of those in your household. Ensure you practice appropriate personal hygiene including washing your hands and ideally showering upon returning home at the end of your shift and consider whether you need to practice social distancing within your home while undertaking placement.

All people must follow the Victorian Department of Health (DH) guidelines.

Please speak to your subject/course coordinator or placement supervisor if you have any questions about the use of PPE or infection control principles related to your placement or any concerns about your placement’s COVID Safety practices.

If I contract COVID-19 while on placement (non COVID-19 testing site), would the University’s ‘personal accident and sickness policy’ cover me?

If you contract COVID-19 on placement:

  • The policy does not provide compensation for any medical costs incurred, as this is catered for either via Medicare, or your Private Health Insurance.
  • If the case of COVID-19 is severe and results in surgery, you may be entitled to claim for a lump sum benefit.
  • If you are unable to work as a result of contracting COVID-19, there is no cover for loss of earnings.
  • You do not have access to Workcover as you are not an employee.
  • Our insurer has declined to extend cover to include sickness, which is consistent across the insurance market.
  • Any income protection not afforded by government assistance may be considered by LTU.

Following the recent partnership between the private and public health sectors; Will international students continue to be covered under their private health insurance?

In general, international students with private insurance will continue to receive medical treatment under their private health insurance (subject to T&Cs of their individual policies).

I am volunteering in the medical industry – will LTU’s insurance cover me if I contract COVID-19?

No, volunteers must be insured under the insurance of the organisation they are volunteering for.

TEACHING AND OTHER NON-CLINICAL PLACEMENTS

Is my placement be affected?

Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Placements

All Initial Teacher Education placements will continue unless the current educational setting changes. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your placement, please contact ASSC Placement Team.

Non-clinical/Non-Initial Teacher Education Work Based Learning (WBL) placements

WBL Placements outside of clinical health or initial teacher education settings (e.g. in IT, Engineering, Science, non-clinical Health, Agriculture, Law, Business and Humanities) are able to occur on-site within the workplace. For all such on-site placements, students must adhere strictly to their host organisation’s COVIDSafe Plan. As with all WBL placements, you must have received formal approval from La Trobe for the placement, with a WBL agreement in place,

WBL guidelines and requirements are being regularly reviewed and updated in response to government advice on COVID-19. Weekly emails are being sent to all placement students to provide information on placement restrictions. As a placement student, you must read these weekly emails carefully and act in accordance with La Trobe and government requirements for placement at all times.

If you have queries related to your WBL placement, please contact:

SHE: SHEWorkIntegratedLearning@latrobe.edu.au

ASSC: assc.internships@latrobe.edu.au

How do I stay safe on my placement?

The health, safety and wellbeing of our students, including those completing approved course-related placements, is our highest priority. To stay safe on your placement, you must follow the protocols put in place by your placement organisation, which should be in line with the government’s COVID-19 WorkSafe advice as explained here. You should maintain a safe social distance (1.5 metres), sanitise your hands regularly, wear face mask as required, clean your work surfaces and monitor yourself for any symptoms. Do not attend placement if unwell.

PLACEMENTS - GENERAL

What do I need to do if I am required to travel between Greater Melbourne and Regional Victoria for my placement?

The new restrictions rolled out on the 25 May only apply to Greater Melbourne. Those based at regional campuses travelling to Melbourne must follow the Melbourne rules during their visit. All Melbourne-based people travelling to a regional area must continue to adhere to the Melbourne rules.

What happens if my placement is postponed or cancelled?

If your placement facility/educational setting/host organisation postpones or cancels your placement as a result of COVID-19 you will receive an email from the Placement Operations team notifying you of this. Academic staff and the Placement Operations team will be working collaboratively on alternative placement options. Individual plans will be communicated to any affected students by your Placement Officer.

For health placements, it is likely that there will be significantly delayed in finding alternative option due to the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare facilities.

For non-clinical placements, cancellations will be handled on a case-by-case or subject-by-subject basis, and the options available to you should be discussed with your subject coordinator, WIL team or Placement Operations team.

For Teacher Education placements, you are able to continue with your subject and your result may be entered as SAHA (Supplementary Additional Hurdle Assessment) on your transcript until the placement hurdle has been successfully completed.

If I am required to complete my placement from home, are there any steps I need to follow?

Yes. You will be sent an OH&S guide/self-assessment and some tips for safely and successfully completing a placement off-site. You should review the checklist and use it to ensure you have a safe and productive home workspace. You should also ensure that you have regular contact with both your subject coordinator and your host supervisor.

Will professional accreditation be impacted?

The University is working closely with professional accrediting bodies to ensure that any changes to your subjects or placements do not negatively affect accreditation.

If I am feeling even slightly unwell, or have COVID-19 symptoms, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results, or have been in close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or are positive for COVID-19, should I attend placement?

If you are feeling unwell, do not attend placement. No matter how mild the symptoms, you should stay at home.

If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (including fever, cough, sore throat, chills, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell), however mild, you should:

  • self-isolate immediately
  • seek medical advice from your GP or the Department of Health 24-hour coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398, and get tested
  • tell your placement organisation, your La Trobe Placement Operations Team and the University Manager, Health Safety and Environment (Spomenka Krizmanic email: s.krizmanic@latrobe.edu.au) as soon as possible, following the procedures your workplace has in place and updating both parties if your situation changes (for example if you receive a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis).

It is crucial that you do not attend University campus or your placement, or anywhere else, until you are advised it is safe for you to do so.

If you have been informed by Public Health authorities that you are a close contact of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 you must:

  • follow the instructions provided by Department of Health and
  • tell your placement organisation, inform your La Trobe Placement Operations Team and the University Manager, Health Safety and Environment (Spomenka Krizmanic email: s.krizmanic@latrobe.edu.au) as soon as possible, following the procedures your workplace has in place and updating both parties if your situation changes (for example if you receive a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis).

If you are unable to attend your placement because you are unwell, regardless of the cause, you must contact your course coordinator and La Trobe University placement coordinator to advise them. We will work with the placement provider to assist you to complete the required hours/assessments at a later date.

What if I am in a high-risk category of contracting COVID-19 or I have carer responsibilities for others who are in a high-risk category and can’t attend placement?

Please provide medical documentation to the Placement Operations team and your case will be managed on an individual basis.

Can I opt out of placement?

Where you have significant concerns for your health and wellbeing, or the health and wellbeing of others living in your home, you can choose to opt-out of placement.

However, it’s important to note that completing your accredited program of study requires completion of all approved activities (including professional placement). Your course progression and completion date may be affected by your choice to opt-out at this time, so it is important to seek guidance from your year or course coordinator. We cannot guarantee when an alternative placement will be available, so if you are currently in your final year of study, opting out may delay your course completion so that you graduate and/or become registered for your profession later than you expected.

Opting out of placement will not result in a fail for the placement subject. The exact arrangements will depend on your specific course and registration requirements. Your subject and course coordinators are working through these issues and will communicate with you via the LMS and individually as required. The most likely scenario is that we will organise for you to receive a 'Grade Withheld' (W) result for the subject associated with your placement until the placement requirements have been completed. We will work with the placement provider to assist you to complete the required hours/assessments at a later date.

If you are considering opting out, you will need to:

  • Discuss this with your placement supervisor and La Trobe subject coordinator, and also contact the Placement Operations team, if you are already on placement.
  • Contact your La Trobe subject coordinator or year coordinator by email, if you are not yet on placement.
  • Complete the online form and upload a copy of the email correspondence with your subject or year level coordinator as a supporting document.
  • Where possible, please notify us of your decision to opt-out at least 1 week before a placement is due to commence.